AR Review – Nappily Here After

One scene says it all – that scene where Violet shaves her hair off. Not every actress is capable of pulling off what Lathan pulls off in this scene. She’s fearless. Here’s where actress and director come together, where Lathan is truly a co-creator. A lesser director might have edited the scene up into small fragments, showing Violet going from a full head of hair to no hair in a montage, holding back the “full reveal” until the end.

Sanaa Lathan got a lot of first-timer attention for her performance as the tomboy-athlete in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “Love & Basketball.” She was wonderful in “Something New,” where she portrays an uptight woman who surprises herself by falling in love with her white gardener (Simon Baker). There’s a painful scene where, after having sex for the first time, he asks about her hair. “This isn’t a wig, right?” She flips out, traumatized by his cluelessness, by a lifetime of being worried about her hair. A couple of scenes later, she gets the weave taken out, shocking her appearance-conscious mother (Alfre Woodard). “Nappily Ever After” covers similar territory, but brings it front and center.

“Nappily Ever After” is a metaphor of many kinds. In a confrontation with Clint, Violet says she is sick of how much brainspace is taken up with her hair. “It’s like having a second full-time job,” she exclaims, exhausted. The ending, when it comes, is not what one might expect, but it feels right. Find out!

7.3

Good

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